-- Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist (1891)
It seems some entries to my contact form are being routed to my spam folder by Gmail. And I'm not exactly sure why, since Gmail isn't really all that consistent about doing this.
So imagine my surprise when I realized and found a note in my site comments asking that I take a listen to an album... a note from the better part of a month before my buddy Draeden recommended that I start reviewing albums (to make up for my non-attendance at clubs lately).
It's like an awesome synchronicity...
As such, with no further ado, I present my opinion on Infirmus, the new album by Suboculis, the local solo project by Dan Menapace (also of another local act, Kineto).
Artist(s): Suboculis(a.k.a. Dan Menapace)
My Thoughts: So the Infirmus album is a short series of tracks consisting largely of a minimalist collection of rhythmic industrial noises, moody bass riffs, and some choice sound-bite samples.
The guitars are highly reminiscent of Tool, especially some of the pieces from 10,000 Days. The combination of the guitars with the rhythmic noise creates what could be a solid backdrop for either some hardcore industrial tunes or the background scoring for some dark-edged sci-fi film.
Highlights: I've only had the opportunity to listen to it once or twice, but I've already gotten a few favorites.
"Phobophobia" starts off with swamp sounds and a sketchy beat, only to whip out some thick and inexorable guitar about 40 seconds in, and then some intense electric sitar at around 1:30 that just oozes dark and sultry.
"Reset Node" starts off with some bits that sound almost sampled from an old Atari game. Then it kicks into a high frequency noise and an uptempo beat, again reminiscent of a video game, but with more aural depth.
Finally, I really enjoyed the last track: "the Sludge Chronicles" - mostly because it had a spoken track and vocalized chorus accompanying the noise and electric cowboy guitars. Makes me think, a little, of "Bad Things" by Jace Everett (yeah, you know, the theme music from True Blood). Not too much... just something about the industrial cowboy edge to it all.
Final Thoughts: Ultimately, there's a lot of really neat stuff on the Infirmus album. It shows a depth of vision and a width of talent on the part of Menapace (between his guitars and his noise-beats) that would make a concrete backbone to any industrial, gothic, or prog-metal band.
If I have any complaint, it's due to my overwhelming need for lyrical expansion. In other words, not a fault in the artist, but in the listener and his (my) desire to add verbalized meaning to these intense tracks of awesome sound.
The cool part is: you can listen to the entire album for free. Just head over to www.suboculis.com and basically listen to a free sample of the whole thing (and if you're interested in following Dan's work on Facebook, just go here).
Seriously. I think you'll be impressed.
-- Mr. M.
EDIT: Dan just informed me that he's made "Phobophobia" available as a free download on Soundcloud - so instead of just listening to it online, you can now put it on your MP3 player and listen to it ALL. THE. TIME.You should be able to find it here (though I seem to be having trouble accessing the site at the moment).